So with that said, I have three short (hopefully) points I wanted to share today:
1. There is LOTS of encouragement in chapter 11 for us to stay the path! So often in today's world, it seems that the cruel and wicked are winning - but God reassures us that we will get our reward for staying faithful! Today, I needed to hear that... But sadly, for the wicked, they will "be brought down by their wickedness." It brings me no joy to think about anyone suffering the the consequences of their sins - no matter how cruel they have been. Maybe that's why verse 30 tells us "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise."
Christians, are we doing our job? Are we doing the best to guide people to Christ while there is still time? I think we are failing miserably, to be honest. And that finger of accusation is pointing squarely at myself. *sigh*
2. You can never out-give God! Our returns may not always be in the form of money or more possessions - they are way better than that:
What an incredibly encouraging verse - Love it! I want my kids to know the joy that you can only get from freely giving, even sacrificing, to others. I truly believe that the more we give, the closer we grow to God - the ultimate giver:"One man gives freely, yet gains even more... A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." (v. 24-25)
"For God so the loved the world he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)It is obviously God's character to give freely and abundantly, even to the point of sacrifice. Why should we live our lives any different?
3. Proverbs 11:1
"The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight."
Deception and lies. There are few things in this life that I hate more than being lied to. Yes, it angers me but even more, it truly grieves me - deeply - when I am lied to by someone I care about or respect. When you realize you have been lied to, there is such a sense of betrayal and hurt. And it destroys trust. And there are few things in life that hurt more than not being able to trust someone that you care about.
And just as giving is in-line with God's character, lying is completely out-of-line with God's character. God is truth and when we lie we are walking in complete opposition and rebellion to God's will and God's character. Lying is a characteristic possessed, not by God, but by our greatest enemy - Satan. God calls Satan the "deceiver" and the very purpose of every thing Satan does is to deceive us.
I know people who have told one" big" lie - one lie big enough to destroy a life, a marriage, a family and most of the friendships around them.
And I know people who just tell "little" lies but they lie about just about everything.
- Sometimes it's a slight "exaggeration" - a stretching of the truth to make their story "cooler" or more interesting - maybe a little more "dramatic".
- Sometimes the lie is a "twisting of the truth" to get other people to see a situation or circumstance from their point of view.
- Other times, the deception is a lie of "omission". It's not so much what they say, so much as it is what they don't say. For example "Mom, I got this small pirate guy at the store." Completely true - except for the part where
my sonthey didn't tell you that they left the store without paying for it. Here they are trying to hide something maybe out of guilt or shame - but often out of pride.
What people don't realize is that lying doesn't impress or make them appear cooler to anyone - it doesn't make others like them any more. They also don't realize that they're not fooling anyone. Oh, maybe at first...but eventually people catch on. And then what, you have lost your reputation, your friends...maybe even more.
What they do need to realize is that the people around them that care - the people that truly matter - love them just they way the are. They may not always approve of their choices or agree with them but that is ok. Regardless of their current "approval rating", the people that really matter will always love and accept them. (Just think of our kids - they definitely don't always "approve" of us but they certainly always love us.)
What kind of lie is worse - if that's possible? While a "big" lie usually causes a lot of instant drama and upheaval, it is usually also very quickly exposed to the light where it can be dealt with. And when there is repentance and forgiveness, we can often move past it and there can be healing.
But "small" lies are sneaky and more subtle - a slow erosion of trust. Small lies like to move around in the shadows - varying shades of gray that have to be sifted out like cockroaches infesting our last precious bag of rice. They are less obvious and avoid exposure by the light at every turn. While one big lie may topple you over from the top down - years of small lies and deception erode the very foundations of your relationships. And because we cannot see the damage until it is too late, that damage is often impossible to repair.
Lying causes so much pain and damage. We need to build up our relationships...not tear them down.
So here's some questions to ask ourselves:
Am I a person of integrity?
Do I live a lifestyle of truth and honesty - not just in the big areas but in the small details?
Or have I given people reason to distrust me? Do I find when I talk to people, they dismiss what I say?
Or tune me out? Or question everything I offer as truth?
Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, help us to be people who reflect your character. Let us be trustworthy and faithful in all things - big or small. Let us be known for our integrity in all that we say and all that we do. Let us live by your truth. And let us be truth in a world that tragically deceived.
Well, I am not sure if this post was any shorter but to make up for it,
I thought I'd at least give you something to chuckle about:
*snort* Nothing beats Calvin & Hobbes...